Monday, January 08, 2007

Dream Come True: How to Learn From Your Mistakes

“Remember: you only have to succeed the last time.”
- Brian Tracy

Everyone makes mistakes. The good news is: failure can actually be good for you! The best way- and sometimes the only way- to learn how to make changes in your life and reach your goals is by figuring out how not to do things. There is a process you can use to learn from your mistakes. The more you learn, the closer you will be to reaching your goals in life.

Give Yourself Permission

You know you’re going to make mistakes, especially if you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before. In order to be prepared for the inevitability of mishaps and misadventures, tell yourself that when you make a mistake, it’s still okay- and you’re not going to let mistakes stop you.

This is part of the process of instilling a positive mindset. When you know what to expect, it’s harder for surprises to set you back in your journey to reach your goals.

Keep in mind that it is all right to make mistakes, and doing so is not the end of the world. The only people who don’t make mistakes are people who don’t try to do anything in the first place. Don’t be the person who regrets never even trying to accomplish your goals because you were afraid of mistakes.

Make Interesting Mistakes

Once again: you’re going to make mistakes. When this happens, you will learn more by making interesting mistakes rather than stupid ones.

You may be wondering what, exactly, is an interesting mistake? The more complex and challenging your ultimate goal is, the more spectacular your failures will be. The person who experiences a spectacular failure is far more likely to realize spectacular success. Here’s a quick example:

STUPID MISTAKE: Stubbing your toe on the rake you left lying in the yard.

INTERESTING MISTAKE: Turning $30 worth of powdered sugar and chocolate chips into inedible bricks while trying to start your candy-making company because you misread the candy thermometer.

The first mistake will teach you to put your tools away when you’re done using them, but this is something you probably should have already known. The second mistake, however, is far more valuable to you. It teaches you how not to read a candy thermometer, and you will never make the same mistake again. Now you’re one step closer to realizing your dream to start a candy making company. What will your next mistake be? The next time, I’ll tell you why the ability to admit that you have made a mistake is crucial to your learning process…

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